Leon Panetta is a Democrat who served in the White House budget office. In Congress he chaired the House Budget Committee. And he led the intelligence and military operations that led to DevGru popping Osama bin Laden.
In short, he is the perfect man for these lean times:
“No budget can be balanced on the back of defense spending alone,” said Mr. Panetta, “For that matter, no budget can be balanced on the back of discretionary spending alone.”
Discretionary spending refers to that portion of federal expenditure that is set each year by Congress, as opposed to the automatic mandatory spending every year on entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare.
“Real deficit reduction only happens when everything is on the table – discretionary [spending], mandatory spending, and revenues,” Mr. Panetta said.
The planned spending reductions in the administration’s new defense budget would result in a “smaller, leaner” force, he said.
“But at the same time it should be agile, it should be flexible, it should be ready, and it should be technologically advanced,” he added.
Nonetheless, Mr. Panetta acknowledged, “I can’t reduce the [defense] budget by half-a-trillion dollars and, frankly, not increase risks” to national security.
Preach it, brother.